Four more games.
While Ripley’s football team had already locked down a Class AAA playoff berth prior to Friday night’s Hatchet game with Ravenswood, the Vikings wanted to keep the momentum going strong heading into their first postseason appearance since 2009.
The mission was accomplished as the program won a fifth straight over Ravenswood with a convincing 41-7 decision on the road at Flinn Field.
It was Ripley’s ninth straight win since a season-opening loss to Parkersburg South. Ripley ended the regular season at 9-1 while Ravenswood closed at 3-7.
Ripley will now open the Class AAA playoffs at home on Friday night with a second showdown of the year against Greenbrier East. Ripley edged the Spartans on the road October 12 in Fairlea, 28-26.
The mission is to win four games and bring home a state championship. The Super Six State Championship event is set for November 30-December 1 at Wheeling Island Stadium.
Ripley jumped to a 14-0 lead in the first quarter and added three more touchdowns in the second to build a commanding 35-0 lead at halftime.
Ripley’s final TD came early in the fourth quarter and Ravenswood avoided the shutout with a score late in the game.
R. J. Evans, who was questionable for the game due to an injury, carried only six times but went over the century mark with 114 yards and a TD.
Quarterback Cyrus Casto added 86 yards on five totes and Jeremy Harper added 78 on six carries. Evan King picked up 39 on two carries. Luke Miller (1-6), Dalton Myers (3-4), Austin Boggess (2-2) and Jackson Foster (1-2) also contributed in the rushing department.
Ravenswood also had a runner go over 100 yards as Jacob Anthony gained 106 on 21 carries. Luke Jackson closed out his fine career with 78 yards on 18 carries. Chase Hood (3-6), Sam Sturm (1-5), Max Hilton (4-3) and Wayne Stephenson (1-1) rounded out the Devil running attack.
Each team attempted four passes with Casto going 4-of-9 for 85 yards and two touchdowns. Hilton was 3-9 for 53 yards.
Four Viking players caught passes in Myers (1-39), King (1-38), Jameson Shaffer (1-5) and Dawson Anderson (1-3).
Chance Shields (1-36), Sturm (1-11) and Anthony (1-6) were Ravenswood’s pass catchers.
Casto got things rolling for the Vikings by racing 65 yards for a touchdown with just 11 seconds off the clock. Davisson Flint delivered the extra point to give Ripley a 7-0 lead – one they wouldn’t relinquish the rest of the way.
Harper got in on an 8-yard run with 3:47 left in the opening quarter and Flint followed with his second PAT.
Ripley’s three second quarter touchdowns came on a 45-yard pass from Casto to Myers at the 11:14 mark, Evans’ 92-yard dash with 3:17 to go and a 3-yard strike from Casto to Anderson on the final play of the half. Flint drilled the extra point after the Myers TD but missed following the score by Evans, who would score on a 2-point conversion after Anderson’s TD catch to make it 35-0 at the break.
After a scoreless third quarter, Harper took off on a 68-yard TD run with 11:39 left in the game. Flint’s kick was blocked to make it 41-0.
Jackson closed out his career with a 1-yard TD run with 1:17 left on the game clock. Tanner Snodgrass booted the extra point for the final score of 41-7.
On the prevent side, Jack Lawrence and Caydan Keeler were Ripley’s top tacklers with eight. Myers (6.5), Chris DeFrank (6.5), Justin Wheeler (5), Austin Rhodes (4.5), Josh Kay (3.5), Kadin Hall (2.5), King (2), Andrew Dolin (2), Luke Miller (2), Casto (1), Shaffer (1), Noah Westfall (1), Jaden Philyaw (1) and Matthew Moore (1) also contributed defensively.
Jackson was Ravenswood’s leader on the defensive side with 7 stops. Also credited with tackles for the Devils were Chance Fields (3), Chase Hood (4), Nick Williams (3), Zack Graham (2), Wayne Stephenson (4), Jacob Anthony (4) and Caleb Lane (1).
The two teams punted three times each. Flint averaged 33 yards while Anthony averaged 31.
Ripley compiled 416 yards of total offense to Ravenswood’s 252. The Devils ran 57 plays while Ripley’s big-play strikes had them with only 36.
Ripley had 331 rushing yards with Ravenswood at 199. Ripley had 85 passing and Ravenswood 53.
Ravenswood led in first downs 13-11 and in time of possession, 33:47 to 14:02.
Ripley was penalized 10 times for 87 yards. Ravenswood got hit with eight flags for 65 yards.
The Devils suffered the game’s lone turnover on a fumble.
Ripley now leads the overall series with Ravenswood, 42-39-4. The Vikings have a 37-27 edge in Hatchet games. Ripley is now 16-24-1 in road games against the Devils.